November 03 , 2010

Surprise Me

A Novel


A bittersweet debut novel, Surprise Me is an unconventional love story about two writers who see more in each other than they see in themselves, and how that faith transforms them.
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The fragile dream of becoming a writer takes hold of Isabelle Rothman during her senior year of college. Feeling brave, she begins a one-on-one tutorial with a once highly praised novelist, Daniel Jablonski, who is known on campus as eccentric, difficult, and disengaged. Despite his reputation, Isabelle loves his early novels and hopes Daniel can teach her the secrets of his luminous prose. But their first meeting is a disaster. He never read the chapters she submitted and will not apologize for being unprepared. He has lived up to his reputation, and she feels dismissed, humiliated, and furious.

But slowly, over the semester, they gingerly form a bond that begins to anchor both of them. And over the next twenty years, as they live very separate lives—she in Northern California and he finally settled in a tiny New Hampshire town—they reach out to each other through e-mails, phone calls, and visits. Their continual connection helps Isabelle find the courage to take greater risks and push Daniel to work through layers of self-loathing and regret that have kept his career from flourishing. They are the single constant in each other's life and the most profound influence.

Daniel and Isabelle recognize they are among the blessed few who meet at the exact moment they need each other the most, and that their lives are transformed by this connection. In a final collaboration, the boundaries of teacher and student give way to a work that heals something in each of them. They truly see each other as extraordinary—as people do when they love—and that belief makes all the difference.

From the Hardcover edition.
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